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Commissioner’s Response – HMIC Report – Rape Monitoring Group, Adult and Child Rape Data for 2012/13

20th August 2013

I welcome the publication of the findings of the HMIC Rape Monitoring Groups for Northumbria outlining adult and child rape data for 2012/13.  In particularly I value the approach taken by HMIC to provide Police and Crime Commissioners with data that is comparable across England and Wales and importantlythe framework of ‘challenge’ questions to help PCCs fully understand the situation in their own force area.

At a regional level working with my colleagues from Durham and Cleveland we have asked for a report from the three police forces on how they respond to rape offences and identify any shared learning or best practice.

In Northumbria we have identified that there is a higher than national average number of ‘no crime’ rate and I am working closely with the Chief Constable to understand this and ensure that all reported rapes are fully investigated.

Ending domestic and sexual violence is something I passionately campaign about and take very seriously.  In December 2013 I launched a 20 point plan to end this violence and abuse, alongside my fellow Police and Crime Commissioners from Cleveland and Durham.  There are many priorities in the plan that aim to improve the policing and criminal justice system experience for victims of rape. Some of the key priorities include:

  • The expansion of our safeguarding training for personnel working in the night-time economy so as to keep vulnerable people safer and the development of ‘Safe Havens’ where they are needed across the region.
  • Establishing a Sexual Violence Strategic Forum which will work to encourage the increase in complaint and prosecution levels of rape and sexual offences.
  • Establish a Police Rape Scrutiny Panel to scrutinise case files that have failed to attain the requisite evidential level for prosecution or where a prosecution has failed and look for lessons to learn.

I am reassured through my performance management regime that Northumbria Police ensure a sensitive and caring approach when dealing with victims of rapes and sexual assaults, although there are always opportunities to learn lessons and improve practice and responses and myself and the chief constable want to take every opportunity to do so. .